Language matters

Listening yesterday (Wednesday) morning to NPR‘s account of the Sotomayor hearings caught me up on the previous day’s proceedings.  Nina Totenberg closed her segment with these words: “…with no end in sight, until Thursday.”

Perhaps this means that as a journalist, Totenberg is trained not to see beyond the setting sun. I think it is more likely that Totenberg is using a metaphor poorly.

I’m not the best person to serve as self-proclaimed language police, but having listened to pundits proclaim that “words have meanings” so loudly for so long, I decided to try and take them seriously.

I am, after all, in the word business.  I pay attention to how others use words, and, hopefully, at least as much attention to how I use them.

So, while I’m at it, here are a couple of other misuses that irk me.

Using “literally” to add emphasis.

Using “to” following “between.”  For instance, I have lost count of the times I’ve heard or read something like “we will be available between 2 to 5.”  AND goes with between.  TO does not.

Thus endeth my rant for this morning.

Go and do likewise.

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4 thoughts on “Language matters

  1. I try to beat “literally” out of my students as much as I can. In fact, I encourage them to step on an adverb’s head and kill it before it can multiply.

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